Poland beat out the Republic of Ireland for second place in Euro 2016 Qualification Group D behind winners Germany after defeating the Irish 2-1 Sunday.
With the win, Poland ends up with 21 points, one point behind Germany and gets an automatic spot to Euro 2016 in France next summer. Ireland finished third on 18 points and will head to the qualification playoffs.
Poland battled Germany for the group win all the way through the qualification group stage, but in the end the World Cup winners managed to end up on top.
Ireland needed at least a 2-2 draw against Poland on Sunday in order to overtakes the Polacks for second place in the group, but Robert Lewandowski scored the winner for Poland in the 42nd minute with a powerful header. The goal was Lewandowski’s 15th goal in his last six games for club and country. The Bayern Munich striker now has 32 goals in 72 international appearances.
Poland went through with a 6-3-1 record. The lone loss came on the road against Germany. Poland scored more goals than any other nation throughout the qualifiers (33) and have several offensive weapons to choose from next summer when they go to France.
Ireland will have to wait until next Sunday to see which nation they will be drawn against in the qualification playoffs. National team coach Martin O’Neill reflected on the loss saying that, “we’re still in with a chance. We’ve got two matches and we will go for it.
“We had an opportunity because of the Germany win but we didn’t have the same intensity.
“I didn’t see this as a free hit, it was an opportunity to cement our place and I’m disappointed we didn’t manage that.”